Dharmendra seeks probe into Biju Pucca Ghar Yojana ‘eyewash’

Bhubaneswar: Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Friday termed the claims of Odisha government on success of rural housing schemes as mere ‘eyewash.’

In a letter to Narendra Singh Tomar, Union Minister of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, Pradhan sought a high-level enquiry team from the centre to probe into the actual number of units constructed under various rural housing schemes in Odisha.

In his letter, Pradhan alleged that Odisha government through several misleading advertisements during the recently-concluded Rath Yatra claimed to have completed over 17 lakh pucca houses for the rural poor in the past four years under the Biju Pucca Ghar Yojana (BPGY)
However, the official website of the Odisha Rural Housing department states that only 2.8 lakh houses have been built under the schemes exclusively sponsored by the State government including BPGY, BPGY (Mines) and Nirmal Shramik Pucca Ghar Yojana.

It is a misrepresentation of facts by the Odisha government and appropriation of Central government-sponsored rural housing schemes as State government schemes, Dharmendra wrote in his letter.

“Earlier, an attempt was also made by the Odisha government in 2016 when it came out with a specious statement of having constructed 10 lakh Biju Pucca Houses. But when the matter was probed in Odisha Assembly on December 6, 2016, the government shied away saying that the information regarding houses built under various schemes was in the process of being compiled,” the letter read.

In the letter, Pradhan has also alleged that the State administration is also allotting houses to favoured parties by bypassing the priority list drawn by Gram Sabhas based on SECC survey 2011. Many beneficiaries have revealed that they are forced by the Odisha government to put up BPGY logos on their houses built under Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojna-Grameen, the letter added.

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“This is an old tactic of the ruling party in the State to start schemes akin to Central Government schemes and appropriate credit, much against the spirit of cooperative federalism,” Pradhan wrote in his letter.

Citing example of the ‘rice at Rs 1 scheme,’ Pradhan stated that people of Odisha are led to believe that the scheme is purely funded by State government, whereas the fact is Centre bears Rs 28 per kg as subsidy vis-à-vis Rs 2 per kg subsidy borne by Odisha.

Apart from this, Odisha had also declared ‘108 ambulance’ medical emergency as its own scheme while the service was provisioned under Prime Minister’s National Health Mission.